Trouble training leg yield.

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Trouble training leg yield.

This is a discussion on Trouble training leg yield. within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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  • 1 Post By IslandWave
  • 1 Post By Kayty

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    07-27-2012, 10:24 PM
Green Broke
Trouble training leg yield.

Hey, guys!

I've been working with Sun on moving off my leg. First I trained the turn on the forehand which she now does BEAUTIFULLY both directions.
To ask for the TOTF I ask her to flex very slightly at the poll with the inside rein and put my inside leg behind the girth.

We've been working on the leg yield, but haven't been having much success.

She falls in on her inside shoulder and ends up trying to turn. If I try to support her on the outside, she becomes really crooked. She starts to brace and overall get really frustrated.

Any advice?
Thank you!
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    07-27-2012, 11:07 PM
How are you differentiating the aids for the turn on the forehands versus the leg yield?
Kayty likes this.
    07-27-2012, 11:21 PM
Green Broke
During the "attempted" leg yield I apply a bit more outside rein and also keep a light outside leg at the girth in an attempt to keep her straight and to keep the impulsion.
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    07-28-2012, 12:01 AM
Your thread reminded me of how my trainer back home had me teach my horse how to leg yield. I'd almost forgotten, as I do it differently now. So thanks for the flashback!

I taught the leg yield the same way that it sounds like you are, beginning first with the turn on the forehand. So you know how you restrict/block the shoulders during the turn? Progressing it into leg yield is allowing the shoulders to move in the same direction as the hind end.
The exercise I used is this (let's say we're on the right rein):
1. Halt straight, not too near the wall/fence/edge of the arena.
2. Bend the horse slightly towards the wall/left, and apply the aids for a couple steps on turn on the forehand.
3. Maintain the asking left aids, but soften your right aids to allow the horse to step sideways, crossing both their front and hind legs equally. The wall of the arena will help prevent them from avoiding going sideways and going straight instead. At first, you may need to open your right rein a bit (but do not open your right leg!) to show or guide the horse where you want it to go.
4. Praise/reward after a few steps of leg yield, halt and finish your turn on the forehand so that you are now facing the opposite direction you started on (now you would be on the left rein) and repeat the steps going in this direction!

You say that your horse is trying to keep turning. I would make sure that your asking leg is not continuing to push at the same place way behind the girth and that it stays right at the girth or just lightly behind. Use your other aids to show her where she is to go and make sure that you are not contorting you body from trying so hard to make her understand. (I used to practice shoulder-in bareback when I was first learning it because if did not sit up straight and got to sitting sideways and crooked, I would slide off.)

How I teach leg yield now is by teaching the horse to leg yield/sidepass in-hand. I create the bend, aids and voice command on the ground and then it all translates easily when I am in the saddle.

I reccomend taking some lessons from your trianer to help you with this as it is very helpful to have an experienced person on the ground to coach you, especially when that person has taught multiple horses how to leg yield and is aware of the common sticky spots.
    07-28-2012, 12:08 AM
Green Broke
Thanks so much for the detailed explanation!

I originally asked the trainer when I was having issues getting Sun to work off my leg, which is when she told me to work on turn on the forehand and then leg yield. If we don't improve within another session or two then I'm going to get some more help.

Thank you again!
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    07-28-2012, 12:25 AM
Not a problem! I hope that it helps.
    07-29-2012, 01:05 AM
If the horse hasn't done leg yield before, it will get confused if you try to restrict with the outside aids too early. I always teach leg yield to young and green horses, by opening the outside rein off the shoulder/neck, applying inside leg and weight to the inside very slightly.
By opening the outside 'door' you are telling the horse that you want it to travel in that direction. Keeping your body central, you are able to control the degree of sideways movements and keeping the horse straight.
Also, so many people start asking for leg yield and expect the horse to leg yield from the centre of 1/4 line all the way back to the track. Don't! Ride a couple of steps of leg yield, then ride straight again or circle away on a 10-15m circle, and come back for a couple more steps.
You don't want to cook their brains, its quite a difficult exercise for a young or green horse to comprehend so you really need to take it in small, easy to understand steps.
Like teaching a young child to talk, you don't expect them to say the whole alphabet on the first day, you start with a couple of letters and build it up from there.
~*~anebel~*~ likes this.
    07-30-2012, 02:33 PM
Agreed with Kayty. It's all about baby steps and making the right thing easy.

Think that you have a colander around the horse and one by one you are closing the holes over years and years of training until the piaffe where all the holes are closed. When you first start riding all the holes are open. You start closing the ones in the back to establish forward, you start closing the ones in the front to establish a bit of a half halt and a contact. For leg yield you are closing just one hole on the side at a time, all the holes on the opposite side of the colander are open - allowing the horse to go sideways.
I also find it easier to teach in trot as the horse is going forward and has enough impulsion to keep from falling over while going sideways. One baby step should make you very happy!

Good luck!
    07-30-2012, 06:37 PM
Green Broke
Thanks so much to everyone! Loved the colander analogy!
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